Tag Archives: まつり

Mitama-祭り

17 Jul

Every year from July 13 – 16 the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) has their annual O-bon festival called 「ミタマ祭り」 (“Mitama Festival“).

We go to this festival nearly every year.

(Click here to see my post about last year’s festival with a number of photos I took.

And click here to see my post from 2008 about that year’s festival…with some videos I took and a slide-show of my photos.)

We went to this festival yesterday (Friday, July 16). It was the weekend and the last day of the festival so it was especially crowded. So I wasn’t able to take many nice photos.

Here are some of the photos I took there yesterday:

金魚すくい ("Goldfish Scooping")

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スイカ祭り

1 Jul

At the DECKS shopping area in お台場 (Odaiba, Tokyo), they’re currently having a 「すいか祭り」 (“watermelon festival“) until 2010 July 19.

They’re selling all types of food, drinks and desserts made with スイカ (watermelon).

A great way to cool down from the summer heat in Tokyo!

2009年夏の「みたままつり」

14 Jul

Yesterday (2009 July 13), we went to the first day of the 2009 「みたま祭」 (Mitama Festival).

This year this festival is from Monday, July 13 until Thursday, July 16. So, if you’re currently in the Tokyo area you can go to this festival. It’s at the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).

靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is where Japan enshrines all who have died in battle defending Japan. I wrote a bit about it in another post…click here.

We have been to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) many times, and we go to the 「みたま祭」 (Mitama Festival) nearly every year.
I wrote a post about this festival last year…click here to see it. That post has videos and a slideshow of photos.

In the summertime in Japan, there are many Obon festivals…which are festivals to honor the deceased. And, as I wrote above, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is Japan’s shrine for the war-dead. So the 「みたま祭」 (Mitama Festival) is a festival to honor the war-dead.

They were heading to the festival.

They were heading to the festival.

They say: "Mitama Festival, July 13-16. Yasukuni Shrine"

They say: "Mitama Festival, July 13-16. Yasukuni Shrine"

At the festival many people wear ゆかた and じんべい (Japanese traditional summer outfits).

At the festival many people wear ゆかた and じんべい (Japanese traditional summer outfits).

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At many summer festivals in Japan, there are haunted house attractions. These have been popular at summer festivals since long ago in Japan because it’s said that the chills from the fright help cool you off in the summer heat. (Horror movies are also popular in the summertime in Japan for the same reason).

Here’s the outside of the Haunted House attraction at 「みたま祭」 (Mitama Festival):

「ろくろ首」 ("Long neck Geisha Ghost") is a old traditional ghost story.

「ろくろ首」 ("Long neck Geisha Ghost") is a old traditional ghost story.

As usual, we had a good time at the 「みたま祭」 (Mitama Festival) even though it was a hot day. We had 焼きそば (Grilled Noodles) and beer, watched the ねぶた (Nebuta) float parade, and our kids played festival stall games.

Seventh Evening

7 Jul

Today is 七夕 (Tanabata)…which translates to something like “Seventh evening“.

You can read a little bit about this holiday on my website’s FAQ page.

This holiday came to Japan from China and falls on the seventh day of the seventh month…July 7 on the Western calendar (which Japan uses now), or in late August if you use the Chinese calendar.

Most of Japan celebrates this holiday on July 7…but some cities celebrate it on the date according to the Chinese calendar.

Basically, the story of 七夕 (Tanabata) is that there are a couple of stars on different sides of the sky and they are a couple in love…and the only day in the year that these two stars are near each other is on the seventh day of the seventh month.
So, on this day the couple’s wish comes true and they can be together…for an evening.

For this reason, 七夕 (Tanabata) is sometimes called “The Star Festival“.

I’m not sure how 七夕 (Tanabata) is celebrated in China, but here in Japan people write a wish on a piece of paper and tie it to a bamboo tree (along with other 七夕 (Tanabata) decorations).
And just like the couple’s wish comes true…if you tie your wish to the tree, it’ll come true too.

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There are also 七夕 (Tanabata) festivals all around Japan…some on July 7 and some in August.

The biggest 七夕 (Tanabata) festival on July 7 is in Kanagawa, south of Tokyo.
And the biggest one in August (this year (2009), it’ll be on August 26) is in Sendai.

I have been to the 七夕 (Tanabata) festival near my house a number of times…but I didn’t go this year.

Have you ever been to a 七夕 (Tanabata) festival?
Did you tie your wish to a bamboo tree branch today?

Japanese Festivals in America

12 May

It seems that there are a number of Japanese festivals in America at various times of the year and in various cities around America.

I’d like to attend a Japanese festival in America and see how similar or different it is from a real Japanese festival!

Have you ever been to a Japanese festival in America (or another country)? How was it?

I found information online about a few Japanese festivals in different U.S. cities:

  • Japan Fest, Atlanta (Georgia, USA)

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    2009年9月19日(土曜日)から9月20日(日曜日)まで。 (Saturday, 19 September 2009 – Sunday. 20 September).

    All of the Japanese festivals in America that I found online have already finished this year…except this one.
    If you’re in Atlanta, Georgia USA this September 19 -20, you should consider checking out this festival.

    They have scheduled martial arts shows, 盆栽 (bonsai), 生花 (ikebana), アニメ (anime), Japanese food, etc.

  • The Japan-America Society Of Houston (Texas, USA)

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    This festival was held in Texas, USA on 2009年4月25日から4月26日まで。 (2009 April 25-26).

    Do you go to it?

  • National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington D.C. (USA)

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    This year’s festival in Washington D.C. was held on 2009年3月28日から4月12日まで。 (2009 March 28 – April 12).

    Next year’s will be 2010年3月27日から4月11日まで。 (2010 March 27 – April 11).

    Did you go to this festival? Are you planning to go next year?

    I heard about this festival on the TV news here in Japan because Jero performed at it this year (I wrote a post about it last March. Click here to read it).

  • Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia (USA)

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    This year’s festival was on 2009年4月5日。 (2009 April 5).

There are many international festivals in Tokyo…

But I never knew there were so many Japanese festivals in America before. When I lived in America, I never heard about any Japan festivals. Are they a fairly recent* occurence? (* by recent, I mean since 1990.)
Is it because there’s currently a “Japan boom” in America?
Have you been to a Japan festival?

神田祭り

11 May

As I mentioned in the previous post (Click here to see it), for 母の日 (Mothers Day) yesterday my wife and I went on a date and then our daughters prepared a delicious カレーライス (Curry & Rice) dinner!

It was a very nice day.

For our date, my wife and I first stopped by the 神田祭り (Kanda Festival). (Click here to see my short mention about this festival on my Festivals In Tokyo page).

The 神田祭り (Kanda Festival) is one of the three biggest festivals in Tokyo.

From there we went to 吉祥寺 (Kichijouji) in western Tokyo and looked around there.
We had a late lunch at the very popular 「いせや」 (Iseya) restaurant.
This restaurant is famous for it’s やきとり (skewered chicken). It’s not a fancy-type restaurant like those in 表参道 (Omotesandou, Tokyo) or 六本木ヒルズ (Roppongi Hills)…it’s a blue-collar kind of place.
But the food is very good but not expensive…so they have many customers. (Actually, I feel more comfortable in working class type places than in five star restaurants. It’s my style.)

We had a good food…and a few beers. 🙂

After lunch, we looked around some more…then we went home to enjoy the wonderful dinner that my daughters made for Mothers Day!

It was a very nice day.

Here are some photos from the 神田祭り (Kanda Festival):

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Making カルメ焼 ("Karume-yaki")

Making カルメ焼 ("Karume-yaki")

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縁日祭

29 Apr

今日は「昭和の日」 (Today is “Showa Day“).

Until 1989, April 29th was 天の誕生日 (the (Showa) Emperor’s birthday), but when the (Showa) Emperor died in 1989 his son became the (current) Emperor…so in honor of the Showa Emperor’s love of nature, his birthday became the Japanese holiday 緑の日 (Greenery Day).
But a few years ago, 緑の日 (Greenery Day) was changed to May 4th and April 29th became known as 昭和の日 (Showa Day).

You can read about Japanese holidays on my FAQ page by clicking here…and you can read about 昭和の日 (Showa Day) in particular by clicking here.

At a 神社 (shrine) near our house, our town had a 縁日祭 (Neighborhood Festival).
We usually go to this festival every year.
In past years at this festival, my youngest daughter has played the Koto* with her Koto class, my oldest daughter played the trumpet with her brass band when she was in Junior High, and I volunteered once to help at one of the booths.
(*Koto is a traditional Japanese instrument).
Even though this festival is small, I enjoy it alot because I have lived in this neighborhood for many years so I know many people and it’s enjoyable to have a beer and talk with friends and neighbors and enjoy the festival.

This year, my wife volunteered in help at one of the booths. She helped at the booth selling かき氷 (shaved ice).

Today is Wednesday but it’s a day off. It was nice to have a day off in the middle of the week. A nice break.
We all had a good time at the festival. Each of my daughters went to the festival with their friends.
I saw my father-in-law there talking with some neighbors…I sat with them and had some beer and food and small talk.
I saw my daughters and their friends walking around, so I bought them all some イカ焼き (grilled squid).

We all had a good time.

Here are some photos I took:

「こいのぼり」 (Carp streamers). It's a traditional 子供の日 (Children's Day (May 5)) decoration.

「こいのぼり」 (Carp streamers). It's a traditional 子供の日 (Children's Day (May 5)) decoration.

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お好み焼き (Okonomiyaki)

お好み焼き (Okonomiyaki)

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What types of neighborhood festivals do you have where you live?